This issue looks at prayer as a partnership. SINCE YOU ASKED
Most of us tend to see prayer as a way of communicating with God. Of course it
is, but I believe God has another purpose that has eluded us. God not only invites us to pray, He urges, begs, and commands us to pray.
Pray, therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:38).
We know that God only hears prayers that are according to His will and that He is omniscient. We can’t make Him do something He really doesn’t want to do; nor can we tell Him something He doesn’t already know. So why bother? Why don’t we just let God do what He wants to do and stay out of it? Throughout Scripture, God has given us clues. One such clue lies in the following passage. During a time of national apostasy in Israel, God said,
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none. Therefore, I have poured out my indignation upon them…” (Ezek. 22:30-31).
God longed to spare the nation, but strangely, He bound himself not to act without man as an intercessor. This is not an isolated incident. Moses found himself in this position often, as did Daniel. God has chosen to work this way. For some reason, He will not act without us. Perhaps this is why He not only invites us topray, but He urges and begs us to pray. Consider the previous passage from Matthew regarding sending laborers into the harvest. The harvest is His. The laborers are His. So why does He send forth laborers only in answer to the prayers of the redeemed? I believe it is because prayer brings redeemed man into full partnership with God. I believe that man’s role is to implement the decisions God has already made. Think about that for a moment. If this is true, and I believe it is, God has called us as prayer partners to influence hearts and events all over the world. He has made us His official representatives with full authority to enforce, through prayer, His divine will and program.
As the Father has sent me, even so I send you (John 20:21).
Imagine a safety deposit box in a bank vault. In the box are your most valuable possessions and important papers. The banker has a key and you have a key. Neither key alone will open the box. Both keys must be inserted. When they are, all the treasures inside become available. Prayer is like one of those keys. Heaven holds the key by which decisions governing earthly affairs are made, but we hold the key by which those decisions are implemented.
AS I SEE IT
I believe God had something infinitely great in mind when He planned the system of prayer. His eternal purpose in the creation of the universe and the human race was to obtain an eternal companion for His Son (one reason why man was created). And since this companion (the Church) is to share the throne of the universe with Christ, she must be trained, educated, and prepared for her role. I have come to see that every obstacle we face here on earth is part of that training. To teach the Church the techniques of overcoming, God devised the system of prayer. It is the focus of our on-the-job training.
The bottom line is this; if the Church will not pray, God will not act. The Church must be a praying Church in order to become mature and fit to rule with Christ. When she fails to pray, God will wait to act. Do you see why we need to expand the scope of our prayers?
Understand this principle of partnering with God in prayer has also helped me to understand passages like Matthew 16:19 which speaks of “binding upon earth that which already has been bound in heaven.” When we pray we are bringing to earth something that has already been determined in heaven. We were the key that “opened the box.” When we fail to pray, we are robbing the world of God’s best plan for it. Prayer will change the world, and we have been given a key role in bringing about that change.
Think about all the issues and situations in the world today needing prayer…a lot of prayer. Perhaps God is ready to act, but He is waiting on us. Something to think about.
If you’re not in God’s family, this article won’t mean much to you. Check out
HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE HEAVEN BOUND.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
I hate leaving the house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.